“Backyard Rooster” 12×12 oil on canvas, $150.00 Buy Now

For about five years now, I’ve browsed local real estate listings daily on my phone. Sometimes I look multiple times a day just to see if anything new has entered the market. I’ve saved hundreds of listings to my favorites just by touching the little heart next to the main image. If only it were so easy.

I’ve longed to own my own home– to decorate my own walls, paint the kitchen cabinets a rustic sage green,  clean my own bathroom. Okay, perhaps not the last one quite as much. I saw a listing not too long ago that, instead of touting the granite counter tops or pine floors, showcased pictures of the chickens and plants on the lot. The house itself was a bit too out-in-the-country for my liking, but I took a screenshot of the rooster on the lawn because, well, he was awesome. When you look at real estate every day like I do, you can easily tell which homeowners use a professional photographer and which do not. These were not professional photos, but the rooster shot was well-lit, his colors bright. I wanted to paint him and so, a month or so later, I did.

I’m in no position to buy a house. My champagne taste and beer budget aside, I still can’t quite afford even a crappy one. Homeownership seemed to come so easily to my peers when they were in their twenties. And now, nearly mid thirties I often wonder, will it ever be my turn? Will there ever not be a road block? Will the bed I lie in each night ever be in a room that I own? That I can paint, put as many holes into the walls as I want? I’ve got a lot of art. I’ll need to make a lot of holes.

Welcome lent. The season for not wanting. The Lord is my shepherd.

After I painted the rooster, I promptly deleted all real estate apps from my phone as a kind of lenten fast. There will be time for that later. For now it is enough that I am getting closer and closer. Since I started painting every day, I’ve annihilated the enormous debt I’d inherited from my divorce. I’ve climbed out of a hole I never thought I’d be in. And now I’m building. What I’m building is mine. Each day the promise of my own home feels less fanciful, closer. I’ve come a long way, and, without the apps, perhaps I can stop viewing home ownership as the pentacle of self worth, the hallmark of success. Maybe I can appreciate what I do have, the real home I already have, the one I’ve been making.

I don’t know if I’ll ever live far enough outside city limits to own a rooster, but if I do, I hope he’s as awesome as this one.